Take A Trip Through The Skeletal System With Articulated Hands!

Take A Trip Through The Skeletal System With Articulated Hands!

This project will be featured in my upcoming book: Pop Sizzle Boom! 101 Experiments for Your Mad Scientist, hitting stores in June 2017!

Take a good look at your hands. Bend your fingers back and forth, and pay attention to the joints in your knuckles as you move. There is a lot involved in moving your hands! Under your skin you have bones, muscles, nerves, and tendons, all working together at the same time to allow you to move and flex your fingers. But they don’t just move on impulse, by themselves. Something needs to pull them down! With this project, you’ll be able to explore how tendons work to move your body, as you make your very own articulated model of a hand!

Materials Needed

Craft Foam
Double sided sticky tape
Paper Straws
Wide mouthed beads
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Begin by tracing your hand on a piece of craft foam, making sure to include your wrist. Then cut it out.

Cut 14 1/2“ pieces out of your straws. These will represent the bones in your fingers. Cut another five 2” pieces. These will represent the bones in your hand.

Tape your straw bones onto your hand You will have three small ones on each finger, except for the thumb, which will have two. These small pieces will represent the short bones in between the knuckles in your fingers. Make sure to leave a nice space in between each piece of straw, so you can move your fingers later!

Leaving a ½” inch gap between the bottom piece of straw, and your hand, tape the larger straws onto your hand. These will represent the long bones that go from your bottom knuckle, down to your wrist.

Cut your yarn into five 12” lengths. These need to be long enough to reach from the tips of the fingers, to a few inches past the wrist.

Tie a bead at the end of each piece of yarn. This will stop your string from pulling through the straws.

Thread each piece of yarn through your fingers. Make sure you follow the path so one piece of yarn goes through all of the bones in your thumb, index finger, middle finger, etc.

Finally, pull on each of the strings to move your fingers! Now you have a working articulated hand!

What’s Happening?

Your fingers are all connected with bones, muscles, and tendons. Your tendons are the strings that pull your muscles and your bones! When you curl your fingers, these are all working together to keep your body moving. The nerve cells within your tendons and muscles act as the fuel to keep things going, as they fire off electrical impulses sent from your brain! There are so many pieces working together to keep you going, and now you can see some of them in action!

Take it further!

Can you use your articulated hand to pick up or move any objects? What you if you made it out of stronger materials, or rolled poster board into a tube? You can come up with all kinds of different designs to strengthen your articulated hand, and gain a greater appreciation for how your tendons, muscles, and skeleton all work together to make your body move!